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Clean & Clear's new teen model is a big step in the right direction

Bethany Ramos is an editor, blogger, and chick lit author. Bethany works as Editor in Chief for Naturally Healthy Publications.

The new face of Clean & Clear is completely unexpected

When you think of Clean & Clear, you think wholesome, fresh-faced teen girls giggling and washing their faces in the mirror. You probably would never think that one of these beautiful young girls would be a transgender teen, and that is precisely the point of the new Clean & Clear campaign.

Clean & Clear made a bold move by naming 14-year-old transgender activist Jazz Jennings as the face of their "See The Real Me" ad campaign. #SeeTheRealMe is Clean & Clear's new social media buzz that focuses on personal coming-of-age stories. Who better to represent the campaign than Jazz, a young girl who has had to break through stereotypes, criticism and hate in order to express her true self?

Jazz was assigned male at birth but began to identify as female as early as 15 months old. By just 2 years old, Jazz could say that she was a girl. At the age of 5, Jazz was one of the youngest children to ever be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Today, at age 14, Jazz is the co-author of the enlightening children's book I Am Jazz and was named one of Time's "25 Most Influential Teens of 2014." She even has a new TLC series about life as a transgender teen, All That Jazz.

In the Clean & Clear ad, Jazz explains, "I've always known who I am. I was a girl trapped in a boy's body. Growing up has been quite a struggle being transgender — especially in middle school ... Sometimes, I've even been called an 'it.'"

She continues, "This year I decided to make a change and put myself out there and make new friends. The real me is happy and proud to be who I am, and I'm just having fun being one of the girls."

I cannot express how wonderful it is to see this ad as a parent. I could have a transgender child, you could have a transgender child, and now these kids have an empowering role model to look up to as the face of a popular teen product line.

Jazz has made amazing strides as a teen in the LGBTQ community, and Clean & Clear deserves credit for making much of that possible. Jazz's identity is now mainstream, as it should be, but her message is much broader. As a teen who understands what it is like to feel rejected, her face provides a message of hope that all teens need to hear: The real you is good and valuable and worth sharing.

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